Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: Charlie the Christmas Tree
By Ruth Neilson
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Charlie knew he was part of a very special group of trees. The farmers would come by every day, and measure his branches and see how tall he had grown. But, every day, they would walk away and shake their heads sadly.
“We’re sorry Charlie; you’re just not big enough yet.” They would tell him as they carefully watered, fed, and took care of him.
Then one morning, the sound that Charlie had been waiting for happened. The buzzing of a saw echoed through the field and he stood up straighter and stretched, hoping that maybe this time he would be tall enough.
The farmers came close and studied Charlie for a long moment. Finally, they shook their heads. “One more year, Charlie; then you’ll be ready.”
Charlie’s branches sank low, brushing in the dirt. He had been sure that this was going to be his year. Charlie quietly watched as the farmers marked the other trees around him.
With smirks, the other trees started to make fun of him. “You’ll never be big enough, Charlie!”
The buzzing came closer and without warning, Charlie felt woozy and tumbled to the ground.
When he woke up all of his old friends surrounded him. They looked at him in confusion. “What are you doing here, Charlie? You had another year with the farmers.”
Charlie shook his branches. “I don’t know. Where are we?”
The other trees shook with laughter. “Charlie doesn’t even know where we are at! We didn’t know you knew jokes.”
“But I’m not joking! Where are we?”
“Remember how the farmers said that we were special trees?”
“We’re Christmas trees. Humans come and buy us to decorate their homes. Now hush, here come some humans. Stand up straight, and maybe they’ll pick you.”
Charlie stretched out his branches and stood straighter than he had ever done before. The humans walked by without even seeing him. But Charlie was determined not to let his branches droop. As the sunset, Charlie’s branches finally started to drop close to the ground.
He was tired of trying to be big enough to be picked.
Human’s voices filled the air, but Charlie made no move to pick his branches up. He already knew that these humans wouldn’t want him either.
“Ms. Robertson, here’s the tree we want!”
One of the humans said as Charlie ignored it.
“Are you sure, Andy? I thought that everyone wanted a tall tree this year.”
This caught Charlie’s attention as the human, Andy, shook his head but then paused. He looked at the other humans and they went into a huddle, whispering with each other.
“We want him because he may never get picked. And nothing should be by alone at Christmas.”
Charlie was confused. What was this ‘Christmas’ that everyone kept talking about? He thought long and hard about that question, as strong arms lifted him up and onto the top of the van.
He continued to think about it as the van drove down the highway and finally stopped in front of a building. Another set of arms carried him into the building.
Soon, Charlie found himself covered in lights and ornaments. His branches seemed so heavy that he struggled to keep them up. The giggling humans continued putting more ornaments on him. Finally, Ms. Robertson placed a star on his highest branch and then she sat down on the floor next to him.
“Can anyone tell me what the meaning of the star is?” Ms. Robertson asked and several hands went into the air.
A little girl answered. “That’s the star the wise men followed.”
“Where were they going?”
Andy waved his hand in the air. “To see the Baby Jesus!”
Charlie was confused. Who was this Jesus and what did he have to do with Christmas? Ms. Robertson reached for a black leather book as she smiled at Andy.
“That’s correct, Andy. Now where did we stop reading last night?” She asked.
“The shepherds!” The children called out, and Ms. Robertson smiled as she opened the book and began to read aloud.
Charlie listened closely, and suddenly he began to understand what Christmas was about. Charlie found himself standing up taller and prouder, knowing that he was helping celebrate a very special birthday.
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